Wrongful Death Claims and Drowning Accidents

Attorney Blog

undefinedWho is responsible when a child dies in a drowning accident? And can families file wrongful death claims in the aftermath of such a tragedy? In some instances, children drown at public pools or in shallow ocean water while a lifeguard is nearby. In other cases, kids can suffer fatal injuries at the homes of family members or friends in private pools or even in the bathtub. While each case has its own facts and complications, a recent article in Slate reported that, “in 10 percent of drownings, adults are nearby but have no idea the victim is dying.”

Given that summer is in full swing, and many Chicago residents will be taking weekend trips for lake vacations, it is important to understand how to identifying a drowning victim. Do you know the signs and symptoms of a child that is drowning?

Understanding What Drowning Actually Looks Like

In short, as the article explains, “drowning is not violent.” Many people believe that someone is only at risk of drowning when that person is flailing and visually having difficulty in the water. However, “drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event.” To be sure, “the waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning . . . prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life.”

When you are monitoring kids around a pool or at the lakeside, you should understand what the “Instinctive Drowning Response” actually looks like. This term refers to the type of behavior that people exhibit when they are suffocating and are struggling to breathe in the water. From the surface or from the shore, this behavior looks “quiet and undramatic.” Some of the following behaviors are associated with the Instinctive Drowning Response:

  • A person’s mouth sinking below the surface and then reappearing, with no calling out for help. When someone is drowning, they cannot call out for help, and each time the mouth rises above the water, that person is not making any noise but rather is “exhale[ing] and inhal[ing] quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.”
  • No waving for assistance. As the article explains, if a child is struggling in the water and is suffocating, “nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface . . . so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breath.”
  • Remaining “upright in the water” without any evidence of kicking to support movement or stability in the water.

Identifying Signs and Symptoms of Drowning 

If drowning does not look the way in which it is often dramatized, what should we look for? The following are key signs that someone may be drowning, according to the article:

  • Mouth only at water level;
  • Person’s head lower in the water;
  • Head tilted backward and mouth open;
  • Glassy or empty eyes;
  • Closed eyes;
  • Hair hanging over eyes;
  • Body positioned vertically without using legs for kicking;
  • Gasping;
  • Attempting to swim in a direction but being unable to do so; and
  • Attempting to roll onto back but being unable to do so.

Swimming can be very dangerous, particularly for children who do not have proper swimming skills. When another person’s negligence in or around the water results in fatal injuries, it is important to speak with an Aurora wrongful death lawyer about filing a claim for compensation. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices today.


Got a Settlement Quicker Than I Expected and Better Than I Expected!

My second time with Leandro A. at Woodruff Johnson and Evans. Another great job. Didn’t have to talk with work comp at all this time since I told work comp I don’t trust them after the first occurrence with them. Got a settlement quicker than I expected and better than I expected. Thanks to Leandro […]

Brian M.

Attorney Dexter Evans: Professional, Responsive and Took Care of Business. Highly Recommended. You Will Not Be Disappointed!

Dexter Evans handled my case for a motor vehicle incident. I would like to inform you that he was very professional, responsive, and took care of business. Whenever I had a question they were very quick to respond and handled everything for me. If it wasn’t Dexter then Nicole was right there. I highly recommend […]

Otis S

Go to the Doctor. Do the Tests. Get the Diagnostics. Hire Leandro Alhambra!

Leandro Alhambra took on my workman’s comp case and did a great job getting a good return back. I had him take on the case late (2 years after the incident) and he still was able to provide a good amount of compensation. Advice to anyone reading: go to the doctor, do the tests and […]

Nelson V

Leandro A. Alhambra Fights to Get Every Dollar for his Clients

I used Leandro A. Alhambra for my workmans comp. case. I see in him that he fights to get every dollar for his clients to be satisfied of the […]

Daniel H

Their Office Represented Me Very Well

I felt that their office represented me very well with a very difficult people to deal with. The process took a long time but at the end they were able to close the deal. I want to thank you for the support and ability to answer any and all questions I had during this process. […]


Attorney Leandro “Lee” Alhambra has given me and my family a peace of mind that I am much grateful for.

My experience with Woodruff Johnson & Evans has been a blessing. My attorney Lee has been such a professional but also a friend that has walked me through many of the things that I had no knowledge of or what I should do next. He has given me and my family a peace of mind […]

Michael K.

I just wanted to let you and your office know how pleased I was with your handling of my case!

Dear Russell, I just wanted to let you and your office know how pleased I was with your handling of my case. The promptness in which you handled this matter and the professionalism you showed while doing so was greatly appreciated. Should there arise another time in which I need assistance or should an acquaintance […]

M. Wright

Attorney Dexter Evans Was Always Available to Answer Any Concerns I Had.

D.J. was always available to answer any concerns I had. The entire case was handled professionally. I am completely satisfied with entire staff at Woodruff Johnson & Evans that I […]

John N.

Attorney Jay Johnson went above and beyond!

Attorney Jay Johnson went above and beyond. He made everything so easy and was always available for any questions I needed to ask. I highly recommend Woodruff Johnson & […]

Chad M.

Attorney Russell Haugen was awesome!

Attorney Russell Haugen was awesome at handling my case and very communicative on a lot of information I needed help with as well. He also took out the time to make sure I was handled with great provision! […]

Jashaunti P.
View All Testimonials

Get Your Free Consultation

"*" indicates required fields